COVID-19 has changed our work, home and social lives in many different ways. But one thing that has been overwhelming evident is that more people are choosing to ride bikes!
If you’re thinking about jumping on the two-wheeled bandwagon but don’t have a trusty steed, check out this quick guide to buying a bike during coronavirus.
Buying new from a bike shop
This is obviously a great place to start, and the good news is most bike stores are being deemed as essential services and remaining open during lockdown, which is something Bicycle Network were quick to campaign for.
In fact, Bicycle Network members can actually receive some impressive in-store discounts at some of Melbourne’s top bike stores including 99 Bikes and Good Cycles.
PROS OF SHOPPING AT A BIKE STORE
- You get a brand-new shiny bike
- Get professional advice on the best bike for your needs
- Have access to warranty and insurance offers
- Can get maintenance and servicing from the same place
CONS OF SHOPPING AT A BIKE STORE
- A new bike will inevitably be more expensive than a secondhand bike
- You may need to pay extra to get the bike assembled
- Some bike stores are only open online at the moment, so you may not get a chance to physically test the bike
Getting a secondhand bike
There’s certainly nothing wrong with a secondhand bike! And there’s plenty of places to find one. From family and friends to Gumtree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace, there’s always heaps of secondhand bikes available for sale or for free. You can even find them in hard rubbish.
BikeExchange concierge service will even do the leg work for you and help you find a used (or new) bike from their network of sellers and stores – learn more here.
PROS OF BUYING SECONDHAND
- You will be able to find a bargain
- You can browse online markets at your leisure until you find the perfect one
- You may not need to pay at all if you find a friend or family member who will give you their old bike
CONS OF BUYING SECONDHAND
- You can’t guarantee quality
- You won’t have any warranty or insurances
- You’ll need to strictly adhere to social distancing measures when dealing with a private seller
When buying secondhand, it is best to know a bit about what you’re looking for or have a knowledgeable friend helping you, so that you don’t end up with a lemon.
As always when buying online, keep an eye out for dodgy behaviour or misconduct.
Buying from a department store
Of course, you don’t have to go to a bike shop to buy a bike. Plenty of department stores like Kmart, Big W, Rebel Sport or even Aldi offer bikes – generally at a cheaper price than specialty bike stores.
But the cheaper price is naturally reflected in the quality of the product, so it depends what you’re after.
A cheap get-around-bike to take you to the shops during COVID-19 lockdown? Yes.
A quality new bike that you want to put to the test every day? Probably not.
PROS OF BUYING FROM A DEPARTMENT STORE
- You can generally find a good price
- These stores may be more accessible to you
- Almost all larger stores are remaining open during lockdown
CONS OF BUYING FROM A DEPARTMENT STORE
- You won’t get the same expert advice as from a bike store
- You won’t have access to a large range of bikes, particularly for specialist needs like track or mountain bikes
- You may have to build the bike yourself when you get home
- You generally won’t get access to maintenance or servicing
Our advice? Ask a mate!
Ultimately buying a bike is a personal decision and there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. But if you don’t know where to start the best thing to do is ask a bike riding mate whose opinion you trust.
Everyone has a mate who loves to ride, and from our extensive experience, bike riders are always keen to help with advice or assistance.
Once you've got your bike, check out our tips and resources page for information on getting started riding, including video instructions on how to best lock up your bike to keep it safe.
Good luck, stay safe and happy riding!